I was getting a pedicure over the weekend at the salon when the lady sitting next to me tore a bit of a page out of a magazine she was reading and shoved it into her bag, then resumed reading like nothing had happened. The therapist and I looked at each other in shock simultaneously.
Then I looked at the lady more closely, wondering what kind of a person does that to someone else’s property. And I noticed she was wearing a Withings Activité Pop on her wrist.
I own a Withings Activité Pop.
I almost instantly felt sullied, like I was part of a tribe that engaged in antisocial behaviour, for no fault of mine. I felt responsible.
That got me thinking about the psychological impact of brand ownership, of which we know there is plenty. It’s why Burberry wanted to wipe away the association with chavs that people used to often make a few years ago.
It also got me thinking about customer responsibility, quite distinct from the larger, more pressing, and more discussed issue of brand responsibility.
If you own a brand that is of a particular stature (and I’m not saying Withings is necessarily one such brand!), do you have a responsibility to behave a particular way, conferred on you implicitly by the brand as a result of your purchase?
The argument obviously is that that’s nonsense – you’re the one who’s buying the product and you can behave any which way you choose.
Do you, though?